'Salute To Our Troops' parade

April 21, 2008 11:27:47 AM PDT
Big crowds usually line Raleigh's Fayetteville Street for special events. But one of the biggest could show up this Saturday for the 'Salute To Our Troops' event. "We're hoping for 50 or 60 thousand people to be on the streets of Raleigh cheering these troops on," project director Van Krebs told Eyewitness News. "We have made this a focus on military and their families."

They'll see military fly-overs, big machines on display, even NASCAR driving simulators. It's potentially good economic news for merchants on a street where things slow down most Saturdays.

"Sweet!"said Crema cafe owner Mikhail Jannick when he heard about the crowd estimate by Krebs. "We're ready!"

Corporate sponsors will provide some food, including plenty of pork products. Jannick's looking forward to a spike in beverage sales.

"We'll probably go through 40 or 50 gallons of coffee, at least," he said. "Just constantly on the morning, and have backups ready to go!"

Parade floats, military and high school bands will roll through downtown streets. Krebs told us there's a special, exclusive treat for military families who will gather at Halifax Mall."

"It requires their current or reserve military ID to get in," he said, and inside Halifax Mall, "we will provide a family fun zone. These guys just got back a few weeks ago, they'll be able to spend quality time with their families."

Organizers arranged it all quickly, knowing time's short for the soldiers and marines.

"They're gonna be here for a while, then they're gonna reset and most likely be deployed again," Krebs said, but not before they get a mile and a half of cheers this Saturday.

The parade starts at 10 a.m.


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